That was easy.
In a game that was over practically from the start, the Orlando Magic were able to defeat the Minnesota Timberwolves by the score of 128-86. In the process, the Magic were able to set a franchise record by scoring 78 points in the first half. For Orlando, it was a balanced attack as seven players scored in double-figures. And despite playing 23 minutes, Dwight Howard was able to lead the way for the Magic by putting up 18 points, 16 rebounds, and eight blocks. Vince Carter finished with 20 points, seven assists, four rebounds, and two steals. Ryan Anderson, earning his first start of the regular season at power forward, had a strong performance with 19 points and three blocks. Not to be outdone by his positional counterpart, Brandon Bass had 19 points and eight rebounds.
To be frank, there’s not much to say.
The Timberwolves were playing on a back-to-back after losing to the Miami Heat the previous night. Add the fact that Minnesota continues to be a work-in-progress trying to execute the triangle offense in addition to sporting one of the worst defenses in the NBA, and it’s easy to see why this was a blowout victory in Orlando’s favor.
Pick and rolls. Pick and pops.
Those are the plays that the Magic ran with success, and there’s not much the Timberwolves could do about it. For example, even though Howard was saddled with foul trouble in the first quarter, Carter eviscerated Minnesota’s defense by running 2/5 pick and rolls with Marcin Gortat. By an unofficial count, Carter ran the 2/5 pick and roll four times with Gortat in the period and either player came away with points on each possession. It was child’s play.
Carter did an excellent job of distributing the basketball, while shooting efficiently.
Anderson was able to catch fire quickly, as Orlando scored 37 points in the opening frame, by getting himself in catch-and-shoot situations as Jameer Nelson swung the ball to him while executing pick and rolls with Gortat and Anderson. On back-to-back possessions, Anderson was able to make two three-pointers as he rotated to the top of the key while Nelson fed him the basketball. It’s the type of ball movement that was missing for the Magic against the Heat.
Granted, it’s the Timberwolves but still.
Bass continued his strong play as the regular season progresses by being a menace on the offensive glass and initiating a lot of contact to get himself on the free-throw line. When Bass wasn’t busy doing that, he mixed it up offensively and made a few jumpers.
As for Howard, Minnesota’s frontline had no chance to stop him. If the game wasn’t a blowout and Howard didn’t pick up two quick fouls in the first quarter, he had a good chance of amassing the second triple-double of his career. Howard was dominant on both ends of the floor, being able to score at the rim with little resistance while making things difficult for the Timberwolves to score in the painted area. Eight blocks in 23 minutes? That’s flat-out absurd.
All in all, Orlando took care of business against an inferior opponent. Nothing more needs to be said.